LifeCulture Days celebrate Indigenous communities at Lakeshore

ETC StaffOctober 3, 20181835 min

Brandon Mongru 
Nathaniel Smith
Life Reporters

The sound of drums and singers filled the air urging Pow Wow dancer John Waaseyaabin Hupfield to move.

But his dancing at Lakeshore campus’ Cultural Days weekend between Sept. 28 and 30 held more significance than usual. It was presented on Orange Shirt Day where Indigenous communities honour those who suffered the trauma of Indian Residential schools.

It was the college’s seventh annual Cultural Days weekend, with events at Amos Waites Park, the Assembly Hall and Lakeshore Village, highlighting the cultural views and creative activities of various communities in Canada.

Hupfield, of the Ojibway First Nation, performed the Grass Dance, which is significant. The dance signifies the patting down of grass on the plains, making the grounds safe for dancing and setting up their homes.

The Hupfield family are sharing a dance together for the audience. (Brandon Mongru)

“Some people get a lot of joy from going to the gym or you see people get up a 5 a.m. and go for a run, it’s because I think they feel alive, and dancing is our cultural way of doing that,” he said.

Hupfield said the regalia worn by dancers varies, depending on the specific dance.

The event also has significance for the Pow Wow’s director Daniel Biindigaygizhig Deleary.

“For me it’s about awareness and education and sharing our culture so people know who we are as Indigenous peoples and know we want to be a part of this country, and want to do it on our terms from our story,” he said.

Ayushi Delvadia, a Lakeshore campus business student, recycled coffee grounds to make art. She’s been making this type of art since she was a child and grew a passion for it as she got older. She wanted to share her pieces at Culture Day.

“This type of art stems from the idea of Indian Rangoli which is coloured sand used to make mandalas and patterns,” Delvadia said. “I use coffee grounds because they’re sustainable, you can compost them and they are eco- friendly.”

Delvadia worked on a bee design during the weekend, with the help from kids who wanted to participate in making art.

Culture Day was home to many booths and projects. The Together Booth allowed two random people connect with each other.

The isolated rooms had people sitting opposite another where they would ask questions and connect with the person, all without the use of technology.

“The together project really means that you don’t need a phone to form a connection with others” said the booths creator Steve Cobert.

The weekend event was organized by former and current Event Management and Business students.

“It’s a great way to connect the college and community and we are happy to be a part of it,” said Jason Hunter, vice president of Student and Community Engagement said.